This month the Culture and Cuisine Club enjoyed the cuisine of Cuba and we hosted. You will note that there are no pictures of this event. Usually I at least get a picture of my cocktail which was a perfectly balanced mojito, the Cuban cocktail of choice. I was so concerned with monitoring the plantains I was frying that I simply forgot photos. And after two of them, well, you get the picture.
The food was simply wonderful. Our appetizers, while we enjoyed our cocktails, were pressed cuban sandwiches and deep fried crab rolls. We were treated to the famous 1905 chopped salad from the Columbia restaurant in Ybor City. It is one of my favorite salads ever!
We moved on to the main course, and I had prepared two different choices for my guests. I marinated two whole chickens which were then roasted in the beer can method and finally glazed with a guava jelly reduction. I also prepared garlic marinated pork roast which I roasted in the oven. The timing on the pork was off, unfortunately, and only the outside was cooked to the correct inner temperature. It was a shame as the meat was wonderful. The problem was a change in the cut of the meat suggested by the butcher, from a shoulder to a butt, and I needed another hour at least. So, lucky for me I also had the chickens which were really good. Debbie prepared the traditional black beans and rice from scratch, and the beans were cooked perfectly. The rice had small pieces of mango in it, and it was a wonderful compliment to the full flavor of the meat. She also made a fresh fruit salsa with apples. Very yummy! I will post the marinade recipes under the recipe section.
Dessert was a luscious flan, and wonderful pastries from El Segundo in Ybor City. I always try to serve the coffee of the particular country, and I lucked out in finding an espresso coffee that matched the style Cubans prefer. We then had our ritual “big reveal”, which is when the hosts for the next dinner reveal the country we will visit. The next country we would visit Denmark! This is when the night began to go downhill, or uphill, as we enjoyed a shot, (or two or three), of a cherry liquor called Heering. We decided to take our wine and liquors outside onto the lanai to enjoy the special treat we planned for our guests, hand rolled cigars we had purchased the week before and stored in our humidor. I wanted a picture of us with the cigars, but since we have two educators, a dentist, and a health care executive in the group I was turned down. Zeus amazed me with his match tricks as he lit my cigar numerous times. The toastmaster wanted to know how come she had never smoked a cigar before, “Lois, why didn’t I know about this?”
So what type of entertainment can our hosts provide to surpass the bar set by Coquine and The Hammer? Only time will tell as the suggestions, most of which are illegal in the state of Florida, were thrown out for discussion by our friends. As our guests left we surveyed the damage and realized it had been a successful C & C event. The house was trashed.